That is the question!
While we live in a world were we have technology at our fingertips at all times - and believe me, I know that I am a person who does not go anywhere without her phone - should we be using it at all times? How many times have you been out in public, maybe at a special event, such as your child's recital or sporting event or someone's wedding ceremony, and witnessed the entire audience on their phones? Some maybe photographing, recording or live streaming the occasion, while others might be playing games, scrolling through their social media apps, or who knows what. But in either situation, are they present - like fully paying attention and aware of what is going on?
Pros of no Phones
Image you're walking down the aisle, towards your future spouse with all your closest family and friends surrounding you. However, instead of seeing their smiling (sometimes crying) face, you see a sea of cell phones, camcorders, and tablets. Is this how you've envisioned the biggest day of your life? I'm sure many of you will say no.
When you hire a professional wedding photographer, you are trusting them in capturing your day. When wedding guests decide to also take pictures, they tend to make the professional's job harder. Personally, I know my team is always moving around during the ceremony to get different angles and to make sure we capture every moment. However, we have come into situations when one team member is literally bumping elbows with guests who are also trying to do the same thing. and ultimately get in the shot.
How is this Accomplished??
You do have to inform your guests of your wishes. - tell them early and often. If you have a wedding website, post it there. When you send out invitations, make it one of your inserts. You can put friendly reminders on your social media pages as well.
On the big day, it's also good to have a sign. Here's an example from Kim and Dave's Wedding. She wanted all her guests to be fully attentive during the ceremony. Most everyone abided to Kim's wishes - there are always some rule breakers at every event. The other thing that helped was for the officiant to make an announcement in the beginning stating that it was the couple's wish (and the church's rule) for all guests to be fully present and turn off their phones.
The Flip Side?
In doing research on this topic, I did not find many opinions that support a "Plugged-In" ceremony. The only statement I found to have some support is to allow guests to take their own pictures and use a hashtag to share on social media and it offers different views of the day. However, if you hire a professional photographer, you are going to get different views of the ceremony - because that is our job and what we do.
My team and I take pride is capturing multiple views of the ceremony and reception. But when your ceremony is not unplugged, this is what happens. Check it out - 7 people with their phones, cameras and camcorders! Can you find me? No, because I'm hidden behind one of the "other" photographers who jumped in front to get their shot. It's a good thing I travel with an assistant who was able to jump in and help photograph this ceremony.
Thoughts? Suggestions for other brides and grooms? Leave them below!